• Acupuncture treatment now available at MAHC

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  • Tracy McClung | Munson Army Health Center Public Affairs
    Munson Army Health Center now offers battlefield auricular acupuncture in the Family Medicine Clinic.
    In the past decade, both military treatment facilities and Veterans Affairs health care facilities have expanded the use of alternative medicine practices to reduce the use of opioids and polypharmacy approaches.
    “This type of treatment is another tool to help patients relieve chronic discomforts,” said Dr. Karen Winegarner, primary care manager. “It can be part of the patient’s treatment plan.”
    Winegarner and several other providers at MAHC went through battlefield auricular acupuncture education and training to provide this service to our beneficiaries. Col. Joel Tanaka traveled from Fort Carson, Colo., to conduct clinical competency training to satisfy the requirement for MAHC. Winegarner and her colleagues now have passed the necessary competencies to provide this service.
    “I am thankful for this treatment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ivan McDaneld. “I have lumbar pain and shoulder pain and I am very familiar with the traditional Chinese medical treatments because of my background as a linguist. I haven’t felt this good in 10 years.”
    Auricular acupuncture is administered in the health clinic and can be used to treat a number of health conditions.
    “This type of acupuncture originated in China,” Tanaka said. “One of the concepts uses opposing forces Yin and Yang. They are believed to work together to achieve balance in the body.”
    Auricular acupuncture protocols have been developed specifically for use in military populations. Winegarner and colleagues trained in the battlefield acupuncture protocol. This type of acupuncture uses a series of five acupoints using small studs that are placed on the ear in a sequential manner.
    “The studs do not have to be removed by a provider because they fall out on their own after a period of time,” Winegarner said.
    “After each needle is placed, I can feel my whole body relaxing and feeling comfortable. Nothing is standing out that is painful,” McDaneld said.
    This type of acupuncture is one of many techniques of acupuncture. For providers to conduct battlefield auricular acupuncture they must undergo training, testing and clinical application with para-models and live patients.
    Beneficiaries must be 18-65 years old and may not be pregnant to receive this treatment. Call 684-6250 to schedule an appointment with a primary care manager to get a referral to the Battlefield Auricular Acupuncture Clinic.
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